Tai Chi Retreat – October 2018

Tai Chi Retreat – October 2018

For a weekend we practiced chi gong and tai chi under the pecan nut trees, listening to the arrow marked babblers and African grey hornbills chatter away to each other.

A mix of beginners, intermediate and advanced tai chi students from Johannesburg and as far as Cape Town, enjoyed the tranquil property of Melody Hills for the October 2018 tai chi retreat, led by Sifu Leo Ming.

“Retreats give us ‘time’ ” reflects Leo, when asked why he holds retreats for his students.

He shares further that “we often feel time is moving at a rapid pace. We ‘didn’t have time to do the task.’ We were ‘short’ of time to finish the job. Time went by so quickly and before we knew it, ‘it was over’. ‘What time is it because I have another appointment in 30 minutes’. ‘This time round I am going to do it differently/ properly.’”

“The retreat ‘gives’ us a different sense of time. We spend the day doing one thing- properly and thoroughly – and without rushing to make the next item on the list.”

“Here, at the retreat, there is no next item. The ‘next thing’ is actually the first thing, or the previous thing’, which become the present doing. We learn about being present; about bringing mindfulness into the present moment. And in this case with tai chi, the present movement or non-movement. We learn that non-action gives rise to action.”

“Getting away from our busy lives and having a renewed self perspective is important or else we tend to lose ourselves in the material world. What is important is self, and the breath. By self I don’t mean being selfish, but rather our true self. The natural grounded and stillness which embodies all of us. Returning to the one,” further explains Leo.

During this retreat we all learnt from each other, as we focused on the Yang straight sword traditional 55 form, and had theoretical and philosophical discussion sessions in between.

The laughter and story telling entertained us over scrumptious vegetarian meals and sitting around fires in the evenings.

We also explored the labyrinth maze as a walking meditation, as well as the options of a gong therapy session and kahuna massages for those wanting some extra elements.

“Each and every retreat is so different and so unique. I think they are all highlights in my academy. I think having students who share a commonality and have a desire to learn from me is a personal highlight” reveals Leo humbly.

Leo hopes that his students leave a retreat being emptied out, in a sense.

“If they are able to leave their baggage behind for that period of time, it would be a successful retreat. If they understood a philosophy that they could use in their daily life, it would be successful. If they could integrate this, it would be a success.”

We hope you will join us at next years’ Tai Chi Retreats in Johannesburg, and experience this kind of success with us.

To  join your Sifu Leo Low Ming for a complimentary introductory class and be invited to the next tai chi retreat, contact him on 0833780468.

For a weekend we practiced chi gong and tai chi under the pecan nut trees, listening to the arrow marked babblers and African grey hornbills chatter away to each other. A mix of beginners, intermediate and advanced tai chi students from Johannesburg and as far as Cape Town, enjoyed the tranquil property of Melody Hills …

Retreating back to the present moment

Retreating back to the present moment

By Brenda Ryan, Student of tai chi

Retreat (N) ‘An act of moving back or withdrawing’ is what one typically does when wanting to escape… and who among us can say we don’t want or need to escape from time to time?

This past weekend afforded a group of students just such an opportunity. I was fortunate enough to secure a place on the Taiji Retreat with Sifu Leo Ming held in the beautiful, tranquil setting of Melody Hills in Magaliesberg.

Our time there was spent practising the healing art forms of qigong and Taiiji. Reconnecting with Mother Earth, and being present in the moment, truly appreciating the beauty around us that in the course of our daily lives we so often take for granted.. And later, under a beautiful starry sky, we sat around the camp fire, tired but content, and grateful for all the blessings of the day.

On our last day we had the privilege of participating in a gong meditation session with our wonderful host, Tejbir and her lovely dog, Pono.

Our time on retreat was very special.. and it is with a greatful heart that I thank Sifu Leo Ming for bringing me, and I’m sure my fellow students, back to the moment… as Mother Theresa once said:

“Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more.”

 

(Photos courtesy of Brenda Ryan)

To  join your Sifu Leo Low Ming for a complimentary introductory class and be invited to the next tai chi retreat, contact him on 0833780468.

By Brenda Ryan, Student of tai chi Retreat (N) ‘An act of moving back or withdrawing’ is what one typically does when wanting to escape… and who among us can say we don’t want or need to escape from time to time? This past weekend afforded a group of students just such an opportunity. I …

Tai Chi and Dogs

Tai Chi and Dogs

Tai Chi has many benefits, and one that we might not realise is that it helps us with our relationships to man’s best friend – the dog.

Interacting with animals as pets, and dogs are a common pet, can be a physical activity as well as an emotionally rewarding one.

To help care for our pets, we should be walking them often, and engaging them in exercise to keep them healthy.

“Falls, ankle sprains, back injuries and even broken bones are common when walking dogs who are boisterous and if the dog handler is not in tune with themselves and their body alignment and balance” explains Sifu Leo Ming.

“Tai chi is a discipline that helps the dog handler to develop more balance and strength, as well as the inner composure, to handle their dogs better.”

This wonderful article by Christine Green outlines a number of principles that we learn from tai chi, that help with interacting with our furry friends. These include:

  1. Using our waist for handling jumping dogs, by being flexible to move with the push of the dog, rather than being pushed over.
  2. Incorporating back muscles for bad leash manners, by developing the tai chi upper body posture which activates the right back muscles to keep our center of gravity more stable.
  1. Weight shifting for dogs who keep pulling the leash, so that we maintain our balance and strength.
  1. Rooting our weight and energy down, to handle those dogs with bad leash manners, or a dog jumping up, so that we are able to keep grounded and stay in control.
  1. Relaxation, gained from the meditative style of tai chi, is good for everything, but specially for improving reaction time to deal with animals.

 

Read more about how tai chi can help you enjoy your time with your dogs more, in the article.

To experience some of the techniques explained, join your Sifu Leo Low Ming for a complimentary introductory class. Contact him on 0833780468 to learn more about his Tai Chi Classes in Parkview, Johannesburg.

Tai Chi has many benefits, and one that we might not realise is that it helps us with our relationships to man’s best friend – the dog. Interacting with animals as pets, and dogs are a common pet, can be a physical activity as well as an emotionally rewarding one. To help care for our …

Zanta Hofmeyr: how tai chi helps her as a violinist

Zanta Hofmeyr: how tai chi helps her as a violinist

Here is Zanta Hofmeyr, one of our students, explaining the benefits she gains from tai chi and how she enjoyed her trip to China with Sifu Leo Ming.

We also get a peak into the world of a classical violinist:

 

 

Contact Sifu Leo Low Ming on 0833780468 to learn more about his Tai Chi Classes in Parkview, Johannesburg.

Here is Zanta Hofmeyr, one of our students, explaining the benefits she gains from tai chi and how she enjoyed her trip to China with Sifu Leo Ming. We also get a peak into the world of a classical violinist:     Contact Sifu Leo Low Ming on 0833780468 to learn more about his Tai Chi …

Karate and Cars

Karate and Cars

Get to know your Sifu

Did you know that your Sifu, Leo Ming, is into cars?

He has a penchant for old Porsches, and has recently become the Karate, or “Carate” man in the latest series of Toyota motor vehicle adverts.

Here they are for you to enjoy.  (We’ll be adding each one as they are released by Toyota)

 

Toyota Mastery Advert:

 

 

To get to know your Sifu, Leo Low Ming, contact him on 0833780468.

Other blogs in our “Get to know your Sifu” Series:

Get to know your Sifu Did you know that your Sifu, Leo Ming, is into cars? He has a penchant for old Porsches, and has recently become the Karate, or “Carate” man in the latest series of Toyota motor vehicle adverts. Here they are for you to enjoy.  (We’ll be adding each one as they …

The Wealth of Taijiquan

The Wealth of Taijiquan

Tai chi may have very early roots in China, yet it has and still is spreading in popularity all over the world.  This is due to the many benefits it provides.

Here is a short clip that explains taijiquan and it’s wealth that we can enjoy.  It also has some interesting footage of Chen village– where we recently visited on our tour to China.

The video covers:

  • What is the link between Wújí  and taijí?  And tai chi and ying yang?
  • The history of tai chi from Chen Village
  • Benefits of practicing taijiquan for society and nature
  • The science of the effects of tai chi on our own bodies
  • The Chinese government’s plans of promoting taijiquan and martial arts

 

 

Contact Sifu Leo Low Ming on 0833780468 to learn more about his Tai Chi Classes in Parkview, Johannesburg.

Tai chi may have very early roots in China, yet it has and still is spreading in popularity all over the world.  This is due to the many benefits it provides. Here is a short clip that explains taijiquan and it’s wealth that we can enjoy.  It also has some interesting footage of Chen village– …

Tastic Rice Ad

Tastic Rice Ad

Get to know your Sifu

 

Did you know that your Sifu, Leo Ming, offers consulting for choreographing Martial Arts fight scenes for movies? And he often acts in the scenes himself.

 

He’s in a new movie that will be coming out soon, so watch this space!

 

In the meantime, here he is in another TV commercial for Tastic Rice. This advert won a Loerie Award:

 

 

 

 

To get to know your Sifu, Leo Low Ming, contact him on 0833780468.

 

Other blogs in our “Get to know your Sifu” Series:

Get to know your Sifu   Did you know that your Sifu, Leo Ming, offers consulting for choreographing Martial Arts fight scenes for movies? And he often acts in the scenes himself.   He’s in a new movie that will be coming out soon, so watch this space!   In the meantime, here he is …

Children with ADHD benefit from Karate Classes

Children with ADHD benefit from Karate Classes

Has your child been labelled with ADHD?

Martial Arts, and specifically karate, is a useful activity to supplement any other strategy you are considering to help your child.

Karate has many benefits for children.  Specifically for children with ADHD or Asperger Syndrome or any similar challenges, martial arts activities can help them develop skills that can be translated positively into many areas of their lives.

Karate is not a team sport and yet it is social.  So the dojo becomes a safe and non-competitive place for children to learn, while still having healthy role models, and needing to engage with others and develop social skills.   They are taught about respect, accountability and leadership through the exercises and routines in karate.

Because Karate is also a sport that needs commitment, children learn about practicing something repeatedly and attending class consistently.   The grading system with different coloured belts teaches personal goal setting, and is a healthy means of marking and measuring progress.  This helps to provide structure and the mindset that things can be worked at and developed with perseverance.

Mental/physical control is an aspect that ADHD children can benefit from, and this is developed in karate alongside a growing self-confidence.  As the children learn certain drills and sequences in the karate katas, they learn to follow procedures and find rhythm, which help with them learning about controlling their minds and bodies.

Focus and self-discipline is also needed to learn the kata’s and routines, as well as the ability to stay on a task.  When asked if karate classes can help children who battle to focus, Sifu Leo responded:

“The brain can be trained to create new pathways by learning new positive methods while using up excess energies.”

“Also mental focus becomes stronger from Karate because the skill of focus is trained inside an environment where certain methods are repeated over and over, becoming a positive habit.”

Martial art is a means to stimulate the body and the mind, and encourage participation in a constructive manner.

“I’ve had experience with children with ADHD, and with its challenges, I’ve seen my students being able to channel their excess energy into something positive for themselves,”

continues Leo.

“Martial art is a great method of managing negative energies.  And I welcome the opportunity to assist in any child’s development through the benefits of karate.”

 

Contact Sifu Leo Low Ming on 0833780468 to learn more about his Karate Classes for children in Parkview and Midrand, Johannesburg.

Has your child been labelled with ADHD? Martial Arts, and specifically karate, is a useful activity to supplement any other strategy you are considering to help your child. Karate has many benefits for children.  Specifically for children with ADHD or Asperger Syndrome or any similar challenges, martial arts activities can help them develop skills that …

Bruce Lee and Karate

Bruce Lee and Karate

Get to know your Sifu

 

Did you know that a source of inspiration for your Sifu, Leo Ming, is Bruce Lee?

“Bruce Lee was a spiritual being and philosopher; he was the searcher and the seeker of truth.  He often said what he thought. He was an analytical thinker, and had a great insight into life,” believes Leo Ming.

Bruce Lee, born in 1940, is one of the most influential figures in Martial Arts.   He not only acted in and made films where he showed his skill as a martial artist, he was also a philosopher and he founded a martial arts called ‘Jeet Kune Do’.


Having both charm and an attractiveness about him, Bruce Lee loved displaying his wit and knowledge.    He was so fast, that he could pluck one coin off of a person’s hand and leave behind a different coin, before that person could close their palm.  He also could catch grains of rice in mid-air using chopsticks!

“I think he was a gift from above and was way ahead of his time, in his thinking and in his actions,” admires Sifu Leo.

Some of Leo’s favourite quotes from Bruce Lee include:

“Don’t think. Feel. It is like a finger pointing out to the Moon, don’t concentrate on the finger or you will miss all that heavenly glory.”

This means that if you focus only the finger which is directing you to look in a direction, you will miss the point.  Don’t confuse the finger (the teaching about Truth) with the moon (the actual Truth).

Leo also enjoys Bruce Lee’s saying of:

“If you spend too much time thinking about it, it will never get done.”

As martial art students, we can take a feather from both Leo and Bruce’s cap, and balance our thinking with some action. Make one small step today towards your martial arts goals. (Share your step with Leo in the comments section.)

“My all time favourite is Bruce Lee’s quote about being like water” says Leo with a smile.

“Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle; You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Water can flow and water can crash, be water my friend”

Leo explains: “This is what martial artists aspire to be like- adaptation is crucial. To be zen like, to be receptive as an open mind but calm.  And yet if needed, to be as one minded as a devastating tsunami.”

For more about Karate and to get to know your Sifu, Leo Low Ming, contact him on 0833780468.

Other blogs in our “Get to know your Sifu” Series:

Get to know your Sifu   Did you know that a source of inspiration for your Sifu, Leo Ming, is Bruce Lee? “Bruce Lee was a spiritual being and philosopher; he was the searcher and the seeker of truth.  He often said what he thought. He was an analytical thinker, and had a great insight …

Push Hands in Tai Chi

Push Hands in Tai Chi

What is Push Hands?

There are various methods and techniques of push hands.  The main purpose of push hands is as a sensitivity taiji drill whereby two people connect by ‘push’ and by ‘yield’, using their hands.  The exercise is aimed to be done in a harmonious way.

Benefits of Push Hands

Initially one does this drill for developing physical balance and strength. It also improves the subtler internal aspects of co-ordination, timing, sensitivity, reflexes, groundedness and leverage.

As you practice it more, you move onto the other benefits where the exercise leads to internal harmonious synchronization of the energies.  You also learn about the body’s natural instinct to utilize and direct force, and to rather develop the martial arts style of developing the body’s ability to yield to and redirect a force.

Learning about Self and Others

In our tai chi classes in Johannesburg, we practice the forms, and these types of exercises.  When we do a solo tai chi form, our attention is on ourselves physically and internally.  We gain understanding of our internal energy flows, and any tensions too.  We’re asked to confront our thoughts, emotions and any possible internal struggles.

However, when we do a partner exercise with others in the class, like push hands, we can explore our techniques which we learnt in the tai chi form, together with the application of these moves on or with our partners.

We now not only have to deal with our own internal states, but also with external forces and the energies of our partner.  This brings awareness to how we interact with others.  We learn to listen to our partner, focusing on their intention in the direction and strength that they are moving their hands.

Thus we can, in the safe environment of a controlled martial arts class exercise, learn about neutralising forces coming at us, and at the same time, gain a sense of our own power to generate and carry out an action towards another.

Chi & Li

Push hands is also a method of utilizing and strengthening our other senses. One worth mentioning is our sense of Chi.  This can be likened to our vital force, or life energy.  Thus by focusing on this inner strength’s development, on increasing our Chi, we become stronger from the inside out.

The aim is also to be learning to use chi (our inner strength) and not li (our physical strength).

Push hands helps us to develop finer distinctions in sensing our chi and focusing more on our internal strengths, rather than external strengths.



For more about Tai Chi and Martial Arts classes in Johannesburg, contact your Sensei, Leo Low Ming, on 0833780468.

What is Push Hands? There are various methods and techniques of push hands.  The main purpose of push hands is as a sensitivity taiji drill whereby two people connect by ‘push’ and by ‘yield’, using their hands.  The exercise is aimed to be done in a harmonious way. Benefits of Push Hands Initially one does …